How to Paint (and Use) a Color Wheel

jenna rainey

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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and multi-faceted creative entrepreneur who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to find their inner creative voice.

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How to Paint (and Use) a Color Wheel

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Color wheels aren’t just pretty to look at, they are the perfect place to start if you’re feeling lost with color mixing and understanding color relationships. Because color theory and color wheel study has been so transformational in my own art journey, I thought I’d put together a fun tutorial for you!

In this tutorial I teach you to how paint a color wheel with 12 “pie slices” of colors. A 12-color color wheel is called a tertiary color wheel, which includes primary, secondary and tertiary colors! In the video I talk about color harmonies, how to paint a value scale and, most importantly, how to use a color wheel to improve your art.

There’s a whole section on colors in the intro to my book, Everyday Watercolorso check it out if you want to learn more!



Music license acquired from Artlist


Different approaches to color theory

Did you know that Sir Isaac Newton developed the first circular diagram of colors (aka color wheel) in 1666?? Pretty cool. Since then, many scientists and artists have debated about what makes up a color wheel, the primary colors and varieties to format. There is SO much to research on the topic of color theory, but a color wheel is the perfect visual to start with in understanding color relationships! It’s the approach that I learned and still reference today.


Why is color theory important?

To put it simply, color theory gives some concrete logic and context for COLOR! Have you ever been in the middle of painting something and wondered what color to put on the page next? Or felt like something looked off in a painting but couldn’t put a finger on it? Color theory helps you navigate why certain colors create harmony and others strain on the eyes when in combination with other colors! Studying color theory will turn you into a more confident painter, designer, artist, because you understand the relationships of colors.


How to use a color wheel for your art

Paint a color wheel along with me in the tutorial and hang up your finished piece over your painting area as a reference! This will help you become more comfortable with mixing up colors and understanding which hues to paint next in a piece!


Links & Freebies

Free Color Wheel Guide
Get access to my list of favorite art supplies and business tools here.
My Spotify painting playlist
My Floral Watercolor E-book 


Related videos

How to Paint White Flowers
How to Paint a Realistic Watercolor Rose
How to Set Up a Watercolor Palette
Watercolor Techniques: Wet-on-Wet
10 Tips to Improve Your Watercolor

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